In today’s society, we are constantly bombarded with images of who and what we are supposed to be; people of all genders are subject to it, so while we often focus on how such depictions of gendered norms affect women—and for good reason, since women are still, sadly enough, an oppressed group—but what some neglect to acknowledge is that this phenomenon hurts everyone.
But Vine Vera hasn’t forgotten that men are damaged and constrained by corrosive social norms too, and that toxic, limiting standards of masculinity are very prevalent and put pressure on a lot of men and boys in our society to act a certain way, whether they want to or not. We know that these kinds of gender norms are unnecessary, which is why we include men in our product marketing, because we know there’s no reason men should be ashamed for caring about taking good care of their skin.
Today, we’re going to cast a critical eye on conventional ideas of masculinity and look at a few guys who are challenging and changing what it means to be a man.
A filmmaker, Fivel has dedicated a lot of his work to breaking down conventional ideas of masculinity, and reconstructing them with a more positive, nonviolent and compassionate masculinity. He takes this message very seriously, and wants his son to grow up knowing this more positive masculine ideal, rather than the corrosive, stoic and aggressive ideals men are currently held to in society at large. One particularly impactful short piece he did is called “Shit Men Say to Men who Say Shit to Women on the Street,” which offers a highly critical commentary on street harassment, and why it isn’t okay.
Aydian Dowling is a male model, YouTuber, and activist who seeks to be a positive role model to today’s youth. He’s a friendly and outspoken activist with a decent following on youtube, and is currently a contestant in Men’s health’s “ultimate guy search,” hoping to be the first transgender man (Aydian was assigned female at birth, but identifies and lives as a man) on the cover of Men’s Health magazine. With his activism and by competing in the ultimate guy search, he wants to break down barriers and question the “new average.”
Kai M. Green
A poet and filmmaker, Kai wants to help further an understanding of gender and masculinity that’s more inclusive. He writes on the blog “Everyday Feminism” on race and gender, continually challenging the current social norms and standards.
This list is short and far from exhaustive, and there are plenty of awesome guys out there who are redefining and changing what being a man means in this day and age. The takeaway here is that you don’t have to conform to some outdated, limited, machismo-laden ideal of manhood. Only you can really decide what being a man means to you, so ultimately, if you want to call yourself a man, stand up proudly, and do it your way.